Phillies Notes: Hamels says he's ready for first bullpen session

Phillies ace Cole Hamels gets in some flat throwing at camp in Clearwater. He'll add some elevation Tuesday.
Phillies ace Cole Hamels gets in some flat throwing at camp in Clearwater. He'll add some elevation Tuesday. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff)
Posted: February 25, 2014

CLEARWATER, Fla. - It's elevation time for Cole Hamels.

After one final throwing session from flat ground Sunday under the watchful eye of pitching coach Bob McClure, the Phillies lefthander said he was ready for his first spring-training bullpen session from a mound, which is scheduled for Tuesday at the Carpenter Complex.

"Obviously it's unfortunate with what the date is today, but I feel I'm right where I'd be at if it was Feb. 1 going into spring training," Hamels said.

In other words, he's about 10 days to two weeks behind where he typically would be at this point. That's pretty much where he felt he was the day before spring training opened when he revealed that shoulder tendinitis had stunted his normal offseason throwing program.

"I'm definitely ready for the first bullpen," Hamels said.

Hamels said he was cleared to lift weights again about a week ago. He had not lifted weights since Nov. 18 and admitted that was difficult.

"Every offseason, I lifted all year, five days a week," he said. "So to not be able to do it, you lose a lot, with the balance of trying to do everything with your body. You just don't want to be only strong on your left side. Everything has been that slow progression, and now I feel like my body is capable of making big jumps."

If all goes according to plan, Hamels should be able to appear in his first spring-training exhibition game during the second week of March and be ready for his regular-season debut about the second week of April. He would not put a date on either appearance, but said he was confident that the soreness that shut him down for all of December was gone.

"I know right now I'm happy with where I am," he said. "I know I'm going to have the big strides and getting used to pitching up and down and mixing in bullpens. There's a different intensity, different soreness comes up, but I feel comfortable that nothing is painful. It's just the soreness of throwing a baseball . . . so I think that's better."

Extra bases

Manager Ryne Sandberg said he plans to be aggressive in using replay challenges this season and that he's eager for the spring-training trial run for replay. He said he expects to get five chances to test the new system during televised Grapefruit League games. . . . The Phillies will have a short workout Monday before playing the annual Bill Giles golf tournament, then will play an intrasquad game Tuesday at noon. Pitching coach Bob McClure said Jesse Biddle, Ethan Martin, and David Buchanan would likely pitch two innings each, with Ken Giles, Justin DeFratus, Luis Garcia, Jeremy Horst, Cesar Jimenez, and Shawn Camp all pitching an inning of relief. The Phillies open their Grapefruit League schedule Wednesday at Bright House Field against Toronto.

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